Bexar County COurthouse Beehive
The 7-Story Courthouse "Beehive" Tower

Lady Justice Fountain

Northwest Corner

 

Bexar County COurthouse Plans

Courthouse Plans

The Bexar County Courthouse


A PROUD TRADITION

The Bexar County Courthouse is the largest and oldest continuously operated historic courthouse in Texas. Designed in the distinctive Romanesque Revival style by renowned architect, James Riely Gordon, its cornerstone was laid in 1892 and the grand Courthouse was completed in 1897. A masterpiece of native Texan granite and red sandstone, roofed in distinctive green and red tiles. It was the fifth seat of government in Bexar County, the first four having been ruled by a succession of governments and political entities including Spain, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederate States of America, and the United States. Each of the four predecessor buildings were located within two blocks of the existing historic courthouse, in the heart of downtown San Antonio.

THE COURTHOUSE OVER THE YEARS

Since its creation as a part of New Spain, Bexar County has been under the political rule of several countries. These layers of historical change have been reflected in the architecture of Bexar County's courthouse. Since 1897, the Courthouse has had four major additions. The first occurred in 1914 and the second was an extensive remodeling and expansion in 1927. Those additions were sufficient to meet the County's space needs until 1963 when an additional 9,000 square feet were added. Finally, the addition built in 1972 added almost 39,000 square feet at the southwest corner of the building. Presently, the total square footage of the Bexar County Courthouse is approximately 300,000.

THE BEXAR COUNTY COURTHOUSE ARCHITECT

J. Riely Gordon (1863 - 1937) was a brillant architect of courthouses throughout the United States. Gordon's specialty was constructing public buildings mainly in the Romanesque Revival style. The prolific Mr. Gordon designed seventy-two courthouses and hundreds of other notable public buildings, including the Arizona State Capitol, during his lifetime. Internationally renowned for his architectural genius, Mr. Gordon served thirteen consecutive terms as the President of the New York Society of Architects.

Many believe the Bexar County Courthouse to be an especially magnificent county courthouse due in part to Mr. Gordon's personal affinity for San Antonio. He moved to Bexar County as a child with his mother and father, a civil engineer. As a young San Antonian architect his first major design job was to supervise the construction of the San Antonio Federal Courthouse & Postoffice in 1869. It is the intent of the Hidalgo Foundation to pay homage to the design integrity of Mr. Gordon with these historical restorations, returning the Courthouse to his intended plan.

Bexar County Courthouse Historic Designations

Bexar County Courthouse Restoration Awards